It seems like everybody got the blues

27 08 2018

This is not an obit.

Yes, Aretha Franklin has died. And John McCain. And Neil Simon. But I don’t have much to say about any of them.

I mean, Aretha’s “Respect” is a song for the ages, one I can’t begin to listen to without finishing it, and what she could do to and with so many songs? Yeah.

But even as I had a cd or two of hers, I wasn’t a devotee, and don’t know that there’s much I could say.

I’ve enjoyed Simon’s work, but: ditto.

And John McCain? His reputation was on the whole better than he was, but that for bravery was entirely earned. And as terrible as so many of his policy preferences were, he seemed actually to give a shit about the common good.

A low bar, yes, but one too few are able to clear these days.

Anyway, I comment on these deaths mainly to comment on the commentary on their deaths. It wasn’t enough for Aretha to have been a musical genius: every song she sang had to be better than any other version! And John McCain? He was a hero! He was a warmonger! How dare you say anything good! How dare you say anything bad!

How dare you say anything good! How dare you say anything bad!

That’s how it is, I guess, policing every reaction to every event. It’s probably always been like this—gotta keep folks in line—but with social media it’s not just fights but fights about the fights and fights about the fights about the fights. I like a decent recursion, but this is a bit much, even for me.

I’ve got my own lines, of course, but as I’ve said before, I’m not much for boundary policing. There’s some worth to it, I guess, especially on public matters, but I don’t much see the point of cracking on people for their personal reactions. I read a really good in-depth negative obit of McCain—one which probably comes as close to any to capturing my own sense of the man—but I’m not bothered by those which lean positive. There’s no betrayal of principle in recognizing he lived a long time, did a lot of things, many (from my perspective) negative, but a few positive.

Besides, what the hell kind of principle is it to deny humanness to an adversary? He may not always have been the best of us, but I think he tried. I think it’s fine to land on either side of that; just don’t deny the other side.

~~~

That said, I’ll be honest: I probably won’t react well if, when the current president dies, someone who ought to know better says something good about him.

So, if I do anything other than roll my eyes at those folks, well, feel free to call me out. This is one line I would defend.

 

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Mayan campaign mashup 2012: Dum de dum dum DUM (II)

8 10 2012

Chill.

Yes, Obama’s debate performance was mediocre, and yes, Romney has bumped himself up in the polls, but just as the alleged walk-off Obama of two weeks ago was an overreaction to Romney’s bad coupla’ weeks, so too is a WE’RE DOOMED response to Obama’s bad week.

The election is November 6—November 6, not October 1 or 6 or 8.

We’ve got a month, people, a month in which much can happen. Could Romney win? Yep. Could Obama win? Yep. Will the last two debates matter effect the electoral outcome? On the margins, yes. Will general campaign performance matter to the electoral outcome? On the margins, yes.

Given that this is likely to be a close election, do those margins matter? Yes.

This is one of the reasons I was annoyed by Obama’s performance*: When your on the ledge and the other guy is hanging off of it, you don’t step aside and let him elbow his way back up; you stomp on his fingers. Yeah, the other person could still claw his way back up, but why make it easy?

Anyway, Romney is back on the ledge—which, to this Obama supporter, is unfortunate—but that hardly means that Obama is hanging off of it.

Dude is pretty steady, remember?**

*Sure, his answers as information-packets were fine, and more fact-based than Romney’s, but debates are not just about the information-packets but about the delivery of those packets. Romney threw his packets hard and fast, while Obama just kinda dribbled them out, then toed ’em on the ground; he didn’t even bother trying to intercept Romney’s deliveries.

**Pace my last post, this is a reminder to myself as much as anyone else, if only because my first reaction to setbacks is often AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!